CREW has received records back from Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina and Washington. Read the records below.
In Georgia, the records included an event invitation that appeared to involve government officials and business leaders that occurred four days before Governor Kemp reopened the state, as well as many communications from public health experts, the White House, and the CDC.
The public deserves to know why states are reopening in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and if governors are listening to President Trump’s rash calls to reopen against public health guidance, putting their constituents at higher risk than necessary. If governors are using state reopenings to show their political allegiance to Trump and dismissing critical scientific risk assessments on how reopening affects the health of their constituents, then the public needs to know exactly where their priorities lie.
The federal government has reportedly shelved a detailed Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on reopening tactics, leaving states who wish to follow Trump’s agenda with scant guidance on how to proceed. Of the states that have started to reopen, at least four—Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas—have tested only around one percent of their populations and continue to see an uptick in their positive coronavirus testing numbers. Colorado has also reportedly fallen short of the two percent testing benchmark that public health experts recommend meeting before reopening. These states are going against even the vague federal guidance which recommends states wait for a 14-day downward tick in positive coronavirus cases before reopening.
Additionally, Trump has antagonized several governors, including those of Maryland, Michigan, and Washington, who have questioned his position on reopening and threatened to withhold aid from them if they do not comply with his political agenda. The public deserves to know whether these governors’ criticism of Trump’s response to the pandemic could have affected whether their states received adequate and much-needed aid from the federal government.
CREW has requested communications from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas governors with their local health departments and the federal government, specifically the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the State Department, and Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC. CREW has also requested communications from Maryland, Michigan, and Washington governors with the White House and the Coronavirus task force.
The requested records will reveal the extent to which state governments are seeking guidance from federal agencies on reopening and whether they are experiencing undue pressure from the White House to reopen. Trump’s favoritism towards states who align with him politically has already had apparently devastating effects on states’ access to PPE supplies and this only adds to the ongoing pattern. Trump’s bias has a high price and when constituents foot the bill, this time they could be paying with their lives.